I only recently heard about the sad passing in January this year of Ohio’s Kevin Junior (real name Kevin Bain Gerber). According to Billboard magazine, singer-songwriter Kevin Junior—who spent his most prolific and fruitful years in Chicago—died at age 46. The story says “the cause of death is not clear,” but as Gossip Wolf reported in 2011, he’d suffered from the life threatening heart disease endocarditis, which required open-heart surgery. He moved back to his native Akron, Ohio, a couple years ago, putting together a new version of his band Chamber Strings. Junior’s troubles over the years with heroin were well-documented, and this addiction impeded his music from ever reaching the audience it deserved. As Ray Borchers wrote in the Chicago reader, “ Junior’s sartorial sensibility and roosterlike hairdo telegraphed the kinship he felt with Johnny Thunders, and he eventually worked closely with Nikki Sudden and Epic Soundtracks. He first led a trashy glam band called Mystery Girls, which morphed into the Rosehips; then he blossomed as a pop auteur with Chamber Strings in the mid-90s. The group made two terrific albums of delicate, soul-streaked orchestral pop, but not long after the 2002 release of the second, Month of Sundays, Junior’s life disintegrated. He spent much of the rest of his years fighting drug addiction and health problems, trying to get back on his feet. “ I first became aware of Kevin Junior’s band The Rosehips via a newsletter from either Jeff Dahl or Nikki Sudden. He played a style of rock n roll I always dug. Stones swagger, Thunders styled, the Jacobites, blue eyed soul, Nikki Sudden, blues, early 70s outlaw country- here was a guy who could also write memorable rock with a truck load of melody, hook, harmony and chorus’. Hell, he even looked like Ron Wood or Thunders. The Chambers Strings album, ‘Gospel Morning’, was just about pop perfection. Not dissimilar in many ways to the musical hooks that the Jayhawks were scoring big with around the mid to late 90s. Nikki Sudden released an album in 1999 called ‘Red Brocade’, an album I licenced and subsequently released into Australia on my old label Vicious Kitten Records. The album was recorded in Chicago and was very much the result of a musical collaboration between Kevin Junior and Sudden. I exchanged some emails with Kevin around this time and told him how much I dug Month Of Sundays. I still love a tune like ‘Dead Man’s Poise’. Kevin was complimentary of both Vicious Kitten fanzine and also what Vicious Kitten records was trying to achieve. In 2001, the second Chamber Strings album, ‘Month of Sundays’ was released, and was critically well received. Blue eyed soul, pure pop, strikingly original. 15 years later this album shows what a high calibre song writer Kevin Junior was. I had lost track of Kevin Junior until around 2007, when I read he was back making music. I didn’t know about his 5 years of heroin hell, which explained why he dropped off the radar. In January, 2007, Journalist Bob Mehr wrote an eye opening article about Junior’s descent into heroin and homelessness in an extremely articulate article in The Chicago Reader that I implore you to read. There is also an insightful interview with Kevin from 2010 on Sugar Buzz magazine that is also worth reading. I would rather not think about his drug issues. Rather, he should be remembered and celebrated for his music – superbly crafted rock ‘n’ roll that will endure. If you are not aware of any of Kevin Junior’s music, start with either of the Chamber Strings’ albums, ‘Gospel Mornings’ or ‘Month Of Sundays. Kevin Junior was born on December 26, 1969 – and passed away January 16, 2016. He is survived by his mother, Gloria Gerber; father, Roger Gerber; and sister Kimberly Edgemon. Rest In Peace.
Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Dahl’
Tags: chamber strings, Dave Kusworth, Epic Soundtracks, Gospel Mornings, Jacobites, Jeff Dahl, Kevin Bain Gerber, Kevin Gerber, kevin junior, Month Of Sundays, Nikki Sudden, Red Brocade, Rosehips, The chamber Strings, Vicious Kitten Records
Tags: Angry Samoans, Cheetah Chrome, Dead Boys, False Alarm, Fat Mike, Frogman From Mars, Jeff Dahl, NOFX, Peter Laughner, Powertrip, We Have Come For Your Children, Youth Gone Mad
I’m a big fan of Jeff Dahl, The Angry Samoans, Powertrip and a few other early 80’s So Cal HC bands. I only ever listen to punk bands that have integrity or roots – or both. LA’s False Alarm qualify on both counts, and one listen to this split 7” attests in uncertain terms that they are the real deal. False Alarm existed for a short couple of years back in 82/83, then regrouped again some 15 years later. Fat Mike (later of NOFX) was in an early incarnation of the band. Enough history. This split 7” (with another LA band Youth Gone Mad) was released a couple of years ago on the bands own label and it’s well worth the effort to track down a copy. False Alarm offer up ‘Tell Me Who I Am’, a brooding yet melodic tune that is archetypal punk rock and reminded me a lot of Peter Laughner and Cheetah Chrome’s classic ‘Ain’t It Fun’. The fact that Cheetah plays lead guitar on this tune is really the icing on the cake. Cheetah’s playing and his tone in particular is so solid and distinctive. This song wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the Dead Boys ‘We Have Come For Your Children’ LP and is as good as anything you’ll hear nowadays that falls under the ‘punk’ banner. There’s a raw, unpolished quality here that makes this tune an out and out old school punk rock classic. Raspy and real vocals too. Cheetah thinks a lot of these guys too, and as well as playing on one of their previous CDs has stated, “I really think they are a great band in the Social Distortion vein, with intelligent lyrics written by guys who have lived the hell they sing about. They have more heart and talent than anybody I’ve heard in a long, long, time.” The flip side features a tune by LA’s Youth Gone Mad called ‘Frogman From Mars’ which, whilst not as immediate as the False Alarm tune, is not that dissimilar. The guitars are distorted nicely and tuned down and set to an almost swing beat. With it’s humorous lyrical content it kicks major ass. You could do a hell of a lot worse than hipping yourself to False Alarm. Check out the bands MySpace page here or email Brent here and he’ll tell you where you can buy the record or the bands other stuff. 10 out of 10. Buy some REAL punk rock kids.
Lifting The Lid On The Rockbrat Treasure Chest: Jeff Dahl, Nikki Sudden, Freddy Lynxx – The Lost Acoustic Tour Poster (1996)Posted: January 28, 2011 by Cowboy Col in Lifting The Lid On The Rockbrat Treasure Chest:
Tags: Freddy Lynxx, Jeff Dahl, Lost Acoustic Tour, Nikki Sudden
In 1996, Nikki Sudden, Jeff Dahl and Freddy Lynxx did a series of dates together throughout Europe. As the boys were unplugged, the tour was billed ‘The Lost Acoustic Tour’ – that’s right – all acoustic. Jeff, Nikki and Freddy were amazing when the amps were cranked up, but acoustically, they were also exceptional too. Go check out any of their albums in their extensive back catalogues and you’ll see what I mean. Dahl released a few acoustic albums and they are great great great. Here’s a poster from that very tour which I pulled out the other day and though I’d share. Rest In peace Nikki – never forgotten.
Tags: Asteroid B-612, Ballbusters, Brother Brick, Cheetah Chrome, Chris Masuak, Cycle Sluts From Hell, Dave Cuneo, Dave Kusworth, Deniz Tek, Detox Darlings, Dictators, Freddy Lynxx, Hitmen DTK, Jeff Crane, Jeff Dahl, Johnny Heff, Kevin K, Mike Thimren, Nikki Sudden, Pete Wells, Rick Blaze, Rock n Roll War, Rose Tattoo, Streetwalkin Cheetahs, Sylvain Sylvain, The Golden Arms, The Trash Brats, The Valentines, Vicious Kitten, Vicious Kitten Records, Walter Lure
It’s hard to believe that 10 years have gone since the release of the Rock n Roll War compilation CD’s. Prior to Rockbrat, back then, Cowboy Col was operating Vicious Kitten Records, an independent record label whose mission was to fight the war against the jive. I had the idea of releasing a compilation album and did a short list of bands I wanted and things just took off from there. Vicious Kitten Records, and the Vicious Kitten Zine before that, developed a good reputation, and most bands were happy to be involved. The idea was to make it a solid balls-to-the-wall comp, and it achieved that. I wanted to show case some of the best Australian bands to an international market – and similarly get some of those international bands some exposure in Australia. The first volume of ‘Rock n Roll War’ had such quality bands on it as the Dictators, Sylvain Sylvain from the New York Dolls, the Hitmen DTK, Deniz Tek and Chris Masuak of Radio Birdman, Jeff Dahl, Pete Wells of Rose Tattoo, Nikki Sudden, The Trash Brats, Asteroid B-612, Brother Brick etc. This first volume of Rock n Roll War sold well, and following its success I decided to branch out into the USA and try and develop greater inroads there. Vicious Kitten USA was born and was co ordinated by Rick Blaze out of Boston. The second volume of Rock ‘n’ Roll War was the only release on Vicious Kitten USA and it came out in October, 2001. A CD release party was held for this album in Boston, and artists who appeared included Mike Thimren (who used to play with Johnny Thunders for five years, on and off, between 83-88) the Ballbusters and Kevin K. Rock n roll War volume 2 was dedicated to Johnny Heff of The Bullys, a New York City firefighter who lost his life on September 11. There is a great Bully’s track on the comp called ‘New York City Man’. Johnny Thunders and the Ballbusters also do a live version of ‘In Cold Blood’. There are songs by Nikki Sudden, Dave Kusworth from the Jacobites, Walter Lure, the Streetwalkin Cheetahs, Kevin K, Freddy Lynxx, The Golden Arms, Dave Cuneo and Jeff Crane from the Ballbusters, Mike Thimren, the Detox Darlings. Cheetah Chrome of The Dead Boys was gracious enough to provide a tune called ‘The Morning’s Gonna Come, which he recorded specifically for Rock n Roll War 2. Other artists on this 2nd volume included the Cartridge Family from NYC who featured Donna from the Cycle Sluts From Hell, two Italian bands, one called The Valentines and the other called Loose. It was a very strong and impressive line up. The intent was to do release a third compilation CD, but the funds were not there. These were a lot of work to put together, but looking back, some killer bands were released on these two comps. These compilations occasionally turn up on eBay. Go discover.
Lifting The Lid On The Rockbrat Treasure Chest: Jeff Dahl 1996 European Tour backstage pass & set listPosted: November 4, 2010 by Cowboy Col in Lifting The Lid On The Rockbrat Treasure Chest:
Tags: Freddy Lynxx, Guns n Roses, Jeff Dahl
Jeff Dahl is one of my all time favourite rock ‘n’ rollers on the planet. From Powertrip and the Angry Samoans to his own prolific solo career, Dahl oozed punk rock integrity and cut some killer albums over a 30 + year period. Mr. Dahl was even gracious enough to let The Rockbrat and Cowboy Col crash at his place in Arizona when we were travelling through south west USA in 96. Jeff was rock n roll – pure and simple and always a great guy. In the early 90’s, the slogan was “Jeff Dahl makes Guns n Roses look like the Osmonds”. Believe it. Here is a backstage pass and set list from his 1996 ‘Looking For A Kiss” European tour, where he had Freddy Lynxx on lead guitar. Great days my friends. Great memories.
Tags: Jeff Dahl
Below is another re-print of an old interview – this time with the legendary Jeff Dahl. This interview was conducted with Jeff in 1998 and was originally published that year. Since that time, Jeff has left his place of residence at Cave Creek, Arizona and has recently relocated to his native Hawaii. View his MySpace page.
Jeff Dahl has been cranking out ear-splitting punk for over two decades and is rock in it’s purest form. 3 chords and a bad attitude – you’d better believe it !! This issue, Vicious Kitten speaks to Jeff and gets the dirt on all that’s been happening in the land of Dahl. Strap yourself in and read on ! (interview conducted March, 1998)
Rockbrat: Let’s start with your most recent release ‘Heart Full Of Snot’. The overall sound is raw and aggressive and reminds me a lot of your first album ‘I Kill Me’. Was this intentional ?
Jeff Dahl: Yeah, it is really aggressive and abrasive. I pretty much knew when I got ready to begin recording that it was going to be a raver. But I can’t really say that I planned it as such. You’re about the fourth person who’s said it reminds them of ‘I Kill Me’.
RB: You staged the inaugural Desert Trash Blast late last year in Phoenix, headlined by the Lazy Cowgirls. What was the response like ?
JD: The Trash Blast was a ripping success. We’re already working on the next one for November. The first night, which the Cowgirls headed, was packed – and the second night, which I headlined with the US Bombs was sold out. We got a lot of press coverage and there were no problems. I’m looking forward to the next. I’d love to try to get Deniz Tek out for it.
RB: Your mag Sonic Iguana is shit hot. What inspired Jeff Dahl to print his own publication ?
JD: Thanks. I just enjoy writing about music and bands that turn me on. That would have to be the primary motivation. It’s fun.
RB: Can we expect a third release of the ‘Trash On Demand’ compilations ? When’s your album of glam covers comin’ out ?!
JD: I expect TOD Vol III to be out in July, I’m still waiting on a couple of tapes from ‘key’ groups to stroll in. The thing with comps is that they are impossible to keep on any schedule. When you’re dealing with 25 bands there’s too many variables. As for the glam cover record, it’s all recorded and could be out in the next month before I start my European tour in May. I covered that Skyhooks tune, ‘Living In The Seventies’, that you sent me the chord book on. Thanks !
RB: What are your plans for 1998 ? Touring ?
JD: I’ll be in Europe in May and after that I’ll play in the US through the summer. I’ve got a new album to record as well at some point – and there’s a lot of possible ideas for later in the year. I might go back to Europe for another acoustic tour or I might go to Japan.
RB: You released some long lost tracks a while ago (‘Satisfaction’ and ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’) – are there any other gems from this period hidden away in the Dahl vaults ?
JD: Yeah, there are some unreleased things buried away, dunno if I’d call ’em ‘gems’, though ! I tend to release whatever I deem of releasable quality.
RB: You’ve been on the scene for twenty odd years now and your music knows no bounds – punk, blues, trash, glam, acoustic, country etc. What motivates you to continually re-invent your sound?
JD: Really, I just do whatever strikes my fancy. If it feels good, I do it.
RB: From the So-Cal hardcore days with the Angry Samoans and Powertrip – to recording acoustic tunes with Nikki Sudden and Freddy Lynxx – to tours of Europe, America and Japan. Can you name some fond memories/highlights from your career ?
JD: Certainly, meeting, knowing and playing with people like Cheetah Chrome, Stiv Bators, Poison Idea, Antiseen, The Lazy Cowgirls, L7, GG Allin and Nikki Sudden (there’s a savory group !) would be highlights. But also on rare nights you’ll play a show and really connect with the audience. I’ve seen videos of Birdman where they and the crowd are one. Totally inseparable. That’s the best.
RB: I remember you saying that you saw the Runaways and that you were once a drinking buddy of Joan Jett’s !!! (my dream of a Jett/Dahl recording continues to this day – wouldn’t that be rock n fucking roll !!)……this leads me to ask you who your fave all-girl bands are on the scene today ?
JD: Since Fluffy are reported to have packed it in I can’t really say there’s any all-girl outfits who’re killing me. I think the Besttias and the Pussycats, both from Spain are hot, but both would benefit from a solid producer and some serious touring to get their chops up. I’ve been told the Donnas are amazing, but I haven’t heard them yet.
RB: Ray Ahn from the Hard-Ons did the cover art for your ‘Scratch Up Some Action’ LP from a few years back – how did that all come about ?
JD: Well, I loved all the Hard-Ons stuff and Ray’s artwork was a big part of the whole package. We just asked him and he was kind enough to whip something up.
RB: Can you name some of your favourite Australian bands (past and present) ? I know that you’ve played with the Cosmic Psychos and also the Onyas, and that you really dig Birdman…….
JD: Skyhooks and Rose Tattoo from the past are bands that I’ve been into for ages. I just heard some Voodoo Lovecats stuff that was great, and Asteroid B-612 are very cool. Of course, anything remotely Birdman related I tend to love, from New Christs to Hitmen to…
RB: You appeared on a recent Japanese Saints tribute LP doing ‘Messin’ With The Kid’. Ever thought of doing a Birdman tune ? Something like ‘What Gives’ springs to mind……
JD: Is that Saints thing out ? I haven’t seen a copy yet. Birdman? Naw, I wouldn’t touch that without a backing band in the same league as they were, and if I did I’d probably wanna do ‘Love Kills’ or ‘Snake’.
RB: Here’s a tough one for an unashamed Dead Boys nut ! Who do you consider to be THE best punk band ever ?
JD: Jeez, that’s like asking if I prefer my mother or my father ! But if I had to pick I’d probably site Little Richard as the proto-punk.
RB: I’ve short listed ‘Lab Animal’, ‘Lisa’s World’, ‘Elks Lodge Riot’ and ‘No Apologies’ as songs which I think define the Dahl sound. Would you agree ?
JD: Those are as good as any. But one thing I’ve found, is that everyone who is into my stuff has a different favourite record and a different set of favourite tunes. Some prefer the acoustic material, some like the glampunk stuff and some are into the harder tunes. I think that’s healthy.
RB: What’s your all-time favourite Jeff Dahl song/album and why ?
JD: That would change on any given day – and I don’t really listen to my old records. Because I’m usually busy working on the next one. I do like ’em all, usually for different reasons. Sorry, you’ve stumped me.
RB: Any plans for a tour down under ?
JD: I’d love to. It’s one of the few places that I haven’t been to and I’ve always wanted to go there. But no plans.
RB: What was the first concert you attended ?
JD: I think it was the Animals with a bunch of other English groups. This would have been in Hawaii, where I grew up, in about 1966 or 1967. I remember the screaming girls were louder than the bands.
RB: Name your five ‘desert island discs’ ?
JD: Mott The Hoople – ‘Brain Capers’, Stooges – ‘Funhouse’, MC5 – ‘Back In The USA’, Chuck Berry – ‘Great 28’, and Steve Earle – ‘Feel Alright’. But this would probably change next week.
RB: A message for the Vicious Kitten readers/Jeff Dahl fans out there…
JD: Stay scary !
Tags: Freddy Lynxx, Jeff Dahl, Johnny Thunders, Kevin K, Nikki Sudden
Can’t get no satisfaction with the rock n roll radio ? Does it leave you feeling frustrated, as you frantically flick the dial in a vain search for something cool ? You’re thinking “Man, there has to be something out there better than this !” as you begin to slide into a state of rock n roll withdrawal. Well there is an antidote. A remedy which I know you will dig – Freddy Lynxx flavoured rock n roll in large, loud doses!! Freddy graduated from the same rock n roll school as his hero Johnny Thunders, and consequently possesses the same authentic qualities. Rock n roll without the trimmings, just bump and grind trashy tuneage, smooth vocals, superb melodies and a truck load of Keef swagger. Parisian Freddy has been treading the boards since the early 80’s, and spent the latter part of that decade with The Watchmen, who cut one very riffy metal single in 1989’s ‘Play With Evil / I Got A Line On You’. Yet it was with the Jet Boys that Freddy really came to prominence, and who for the next five years cut some damn fine, yet largely overlooked music. The Jet Boys played guitar driven, Stones inspired rock n roll. Throw in some Dolls and a touch of Hanoi Rocks and you should get the picture of just how good the Jet Boys were. The Jet Boys toured throughout Europe to rave reviews, and also had a run of successful shows in late 1994 through the East Coast of America. The band released two singles in ‘Just Wanna Talk To You’ and ‘Call Me Sister Midnight’. Both being raw, Dolls-like tunes full of rolling melodic hooks and highlighted by Lynxx’s impassioned vocals. The Jet Boys released their one and only long player ‘Larger Than Life’ in 1991, and this is quite simply one of most underrated records around. This album should have been a worldwide smash and established the Jet Boys as a household name, instead of Guns n Roses. It gained distribution not only in France, but also Spain, America and Japan. ‘Larger Than Life’ was the album the New York Dolls never made, which is recommendation enough for you to try and hunt down a copy ! The most imminent factor about the album though, was the sheer strength and quality of Lynxx’s song writing. His writing has developed to the point now where everything he releases is gold. This became evident with the classic trashin’ punk single from 1995 ‘Zip Your Lip’ (see review in VK4), and the ‘Sooner Or Later’ split single from the same year. 1996 saw the release of Lynxx’s debut solo album, an acoustic effort titled ‘No Pleasure Thrills’ and in one word it is quite simply – superb. Lynxx again demonstrates his melodic sensibilities and combined with some blissful acoustic guitar and his sweet ethereal voce, make this album an absolute modern day masterpiece ! Highlights are many. Lynxx and Johnny Thunders unite to deliver an impassioned take of ‘As Tears Go By’, whilst ‘No Thrills, No Pleasure’ is a sheer acoustic delight. The dear departed Nicky Hopkins lends piano support on Dylan’s ‘Lay Lady Lay’ with vocals supplied by Johan Asheton. Jacobites main man Nikki Sudden shares vocals with Lynxx on a brilliant run through the Tammy Wynette tear jerker ‘Apartment # 9’, yet my favourite track has to be ‘I Love You’. This old Heartbreakers number is given the acoustic treatment, with Freddy’s sweet and clean vocals sending chills down my spine. Freddy Lynxx toured Europe as a member of Jeff Dahl’s band during Dahl’s 96 tour, and also did a run of shows through Europe on an acoustic tour, sharing the spotlight with Nikki Sudden and Jeff Dahl which by all reports went down a smash. Lynxx has been busy lately and has a new solo album out soon, with the guitars definitely plugged in and amped up. He has also recorded an album’s worth of new acoustic tunes with Nikki Sudden which hopefully should see the light of day soon as well. One of these numbers – ‘Have Faith’ (an unreleased Thunders composition) is so good, that when Freddy played it for me, it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It knocked me out so much I made him play it for me over and over again !! There is a lot to like about Freddy Lynnx and I urge you to check him out, because if music has the capacity to make you feel good, then Freddy Lynxx will no doubt leave you in a state of contented bliss – intoxicated on rock n roll !!!!
Note: Article originally appeared in Vicious Kitten Fanzine – 1998